Lockheed P-38F-15-LO Lightning

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Lockheed P-38F-15-LO Lightning

Heavy Fighter / Interceptor

   Hello! I’d like to introduce and suggest the Lockheed P-38F Lightning for War Thunder. The P-38F is a intermediate variant between P-38E and P-38G with different engines, underwing racks, and combat flaps.


Key Characteristics

  • First production variant with inboard underwing racks after P-38E
  • Allison V-1710-49/53 engines with 1,325 hp
  • Up to 2 x 1000 lb bombs
  • New combat flaps

History

The P-38F variant was the first Lightning version and was considered fully combat-ready in late 1942. It had two significant changes made to the ‘F’ variant from the ‘E’ variant; it was given new and powerful engines of Allison V-1710-49/53s and new pylons between the engines and the cockpit for 1,000 lb bombs or fuel drop tanks. However, it had cost a significant increase in weight of P-38F.

Lockheed built the first production block P-38F-1-LO with new wing racks. Each rack could carry a smoke curtain installation or a 22-inch torpedo. 149 of the P-38F-1-LO subvariant were built. The P-38F-5-LO was the next production block with revised landing lights, desert equipment, identification lights, and other minor changes, and 100 of the P-38F-5-LO were built. The P-38F-13-LO and P-38F-15-LO were the last block production subvariants. A total of 29 F-13-LO only had modified instruments for British usage, and a total of 212 F-15-LO had new combat flaps that could be extended to 8 degrees, improving lift and maneuverability.

The P-38F entered service in February 1942. About 200 P-38Fs flew to Britain by July-August 1942 during Operation Bolero (US military troop buildup in Britain) before an Allied invasion in Europe. The 1st Fighter Group and 14th Fighter Group had flown their P-38Fs across the Atlantic with four stops via air bases in Maine, Labrador, Greenland, and Iceland. These P-38Fs were marked as the first fighters ever to be delivered across the Atlantic under the command of the US Army Air Force.

A P-38F had scored the first Luftwaffe aircraft kill in August 1942 on a technicality. The P-38F from the 27th Fighter Squadron flew out of Iceland on a patrol on August 14, 1942, to assist in the destruction of a Fw-200 Condor that had been pursued by either a P-40C or a P-39 from the 33rd Squadron. Fw-200 received hits and caught on fire, and then the P-38F executed a high-speed defection shooting to finish it off.

Around 347 sorties later, without enemy contact, the P-38Fs from the 1st and 14th Fighter Groups were transferred and redeployed to the 12th Air Force in North Africa to participate in Operation Torch. They would initially station at an airfield in Algeria alongside P-40 Warhawks. The P-38Fs would see their first combat operations on November 11, 1942, against Italian and German forces.

Lockheed built a final total of 527 P-38Fs and shipped them to the squadrons stationed in the Mediterranean and Pacific before being replaced by P-38Gs and P-38Js.


Specifications

Lockheed P-38F-15-LO Lightning

General Characteristics

  • Crew: 1 (Pilot)
  • Length: 37 feet, 9 13/16 inches
  • Height: 9 feet, 9 ¾ inches
  • Span: 52 feet
  • Powerplant: 2x Engines, Allison V-1710-49 (on Right) and V-1710-53 (on Left)
    → 1,325 hp
  • Empty Weight: 12,264 lb
  • Gross Weight: 15,900 lb

Performance

  • Speed: 395 mph at 25,000 feet
  • Minutes to Climb at 20,000 feet: 8.8 minutes
  • Service Ceiling: 39,000 feet

Armament

  • Guns

    • 4 x .50 cal Heavy Machine Guns (2000 Rounds)
    • 1 x 20 mm M1 Cannon (150 Rounds)
  • Bombs

    • 2 x 1000 lb bombs
    • 2 x 500 lb bombs
  • Fuel Tanks

    • 2 x 150 gal drop tanks

Photographs


Conclusion | Why it should be in the game

   I made this suggestion to request more World War II-era vehicles for War Thunder. This P-38F would make a welcoming addition to the P-38 Lightning family in War Thunder. The P-38F could be a great opportunity to use as the first Lightning variant capable of ground attack with bombs.


Sources

Primary

  • Pilot’s Flight Operating Instructions for Army Models P-38D Through P-38G Series F-4, F-4A, and F-5A Series Airplanes

Secondary


Thank you for taking the time to read my suggestion! 😃

1 Like

Cool! Love lightings!

1 Like

Never say no to another Lightning!

1 Like

Honestly I’d rather them buff the current later P-38s than add a new one, the payloads they can carry in game are a fraction of what they were capable of carrying IRL.

Why not both? Yeah, I understand the current P-38s are missing some loadouts that they could carry, and it’s ridiculous. Also, this P-38F is only the variant that is capable of carrying two torpedoes, but these were from trial runs AFAIK. Will check later.

Sadly 95% of War Thunder players never touch Naval, and another 4% of players will never touch Naval more than a couple times for the memes, so torpedoes won’t really have a place in game.

A +1 from me, more Lightnings are always welcome

1 Like

Here is what I found:

This was an ex-RAF Lightning Mk. II returned to USAAF as P-38F-13-LO (S/N 43-2035) with weapons removed for testing purposes in California. It carried dummy Mk XIII torpedoes, and the testing showed it had a significant performance penalty of 16.7% with a top speed of 300 mph and a range of 1,000 miles. In the second test, the P-38F was carrying a single torpedo and a 310-gallon drop tank (to balance the center of gravity); it only resulted in a performance penalty of 12.6% and a range of 2,160 miles.

During the testing, the P-38F also dropped the torpedo. Here is a photo of a dropping torpedo in the air.

 

Dropping Torpedo

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The P-38F torpedo-bomber project was just an experiment to get flight data only and was abandoned in favor of utilizing bombs in anti-shipping operations as the bombs were far more reliable and effective when hitting the ships.

It appears a P-38G (S/N 43-2381) was also used in torpedo tests to collect flight performance metrics, but I found no more information beyond that. I think this info is unverifiable.

Nevertheless, I think this is neat information to know and probably can be justified in giving the P-38F the ability to carry the torpedoes.

1 Like

+1, Lightnings are my favourite WWII aircraft! Though with the E and G already tech tree at .3 different BRs, maybe this would be best as a premium- especially with its funky trialled torpedoes